On September 14, 2018, we had the incredible opportunity to sit down with the legendary Ben Gold for an exclusive interview after his epic set at City At Night in Ottawa, Ontario. We want to extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to the beloved producer as well as his hardworking team for their time, organization, and kindness. We were delighted to get a glimpse into the charming DJ’s personality and lifestyle, reinforcing why he has been so undeniably triumphant throughout the years. Without further ado, check out what the UK-born musician had to share with us below.
Can you tell us which elements from tonight’s performance stood out to you among the rest, and ultimately, made you happy to be back in the Nation’s Capital?
First of all, it’s great to be back! I’ve had some amazing times here, and made some great memories in Ottawa throughout the years. Unfortunately, I haven’t been here as much, and I don’t believe that trance has been here as much either. However, Sheridan [Grout] did a really good job putting trance back on the map, here in the Capital. Playing intimate clubs in Ottawa is great – I really enjoy them just as much as playing a big room, or even at a festival. You’re really close to the crowd, and can feel the energy. I truly enjoyed the entire performance tonight. I tested out some new music which I haven’t played before. When you have a two-hour window, you have the opportunity to try out what you want. When you’re playing, you’re not too sure if it’s going to work. That said, it’s very easy to play the same old stuff; so credit to the crowd for going along with it. The energy, and the love, flowing from the crowd is strong here!
We have heard through the grapevine that you are about to unleash a long list of new projects. Can you tell us a bit about them and when they will be dropping?
I’m working on the second chapter of my ‘Sound Advice‘ album series. We’re going to aim to drop it sometime in March 2019. We’re also working on a new project with Omnia for a world tour next year under a new name where we will be simply playing our own music. We played twice together this summer: one show at Untold Music Festival in Romania, which is probably the festival show of the year for me, personally. I had never been to Romania, nor had Omnia. We had played a B2B performance the week before at the Electronic Family where we had only played our own music; that said, we wanted to continue to play our own tracks in Romania. We didn’t play the same set, however, it was pretty similar. We really dove into our back catalogue during that set, and we managed to put together an hour and a half of our own music. We felt that the set made us really unique, and ultimately, stand out. I don’t know what it is about Romania – but wow! I mean, everyone’s seen the Armin [van Buuren] video of him playing his seven-hour set on the main stage. But let me tell you, the energy was just as good on the trance stage, consistently. Truly, the footage from that show speaks for itself! Check out my Instagram. We decided that since no one is doing what we are doing, and we have our own unique sound, that we should just go for it! We have been in the studio and now have a new four track EP in the works.
Speaking of Romania, is there anything else that you would like to see while you are there?
I LOVE my job, it’s fantastic and I would never change anything about it. The reality is, it’s not as glamorous as it looks on social media. I get to see the hotel, the club, and the airport. I get to revisit a lot of the same places that I have been before, and during the second visit, I do try to take a moment to experience all that the destination has to offer. My passport is amazing – it’s full of stamps, but I am really looking forward to truly living all that the world has to offer.
You have collaborated with some of the biggest artists in the dance music industry such as Gareth Emery, and remixing Armin van Buuren. Who would be your next dream collab and why?
I would love to do a record with Ed Sheeran because I think it would be really different. If that were to go-ahead, I would love to stay close to his sound but put a dance beat behind it. I think the result would be fantastic! In addition, I would love to work with producers that I connect with on a personal level. For example, I met STANDERWICK in Ibiza. I have always loved his music, however, when you meet someone in person, you can truly see how they are. We just clicked, and had common ground. The friendship continued when we would talk on the phone. We would talk about life, and everything in between. Not to mention, we use the same DJ software. We both find this helpful in the long run because he can work on something, save it to Dropbox, and then I can go in and work on it. He just remixed my track ‘There Will Be Angels‘. Although we haven’t officially collaborated, we were working on an idea, and I’m sure that we will end up in the studio down the road.
Would you ever work with up-and-coming producers? If so, how do you suggest that they get your attention to make it happen?
The most important thing is that you have to find your own sound. It’s easy to copy other people. To create something that no one else is doing, and that’s original, that’s how people will stand out! This is the ultimate advice! You have to do this way before you make your social media channels and Soundcloud look good. Whatever you’re trying to market, or brand, you need to get the music right first. Make it unique, different, and all of the other elements will fall into place after.
Why do you believe ‘Who’s Afraid of 138!?’ is important for the trance music genre?
I believe that the result of it has split the trance market. That said, now there are several groups; there’s 138, progressive, tech, psytrance, etc. But seriously, f*ck groups – it’s all trance, it’s all one! I mean, you heard in my set tonight – I went from 128 to 138. I played Above and Beyond to Hannah Wants, to Cosmic Gate to Vini Vici. It doesn’t have to be so distinct – you can have it split up and make it all work! For me, if I go to see a DJ, I don’t want to hear the same record for two hours with a different melody. I want a variation – I want to see the differences in the overall flow. I don’t think that there’s a right way to DJ, however, what’s important is that they play with their heart and pour their passion into their performance.
This summer, you played your first ever 6-hour festival set at AIM Festival. How do you prepare for a performance of this length compared to a standard 1-2 hour set?
For a 6-hour set, I work in three separate folders: one is the first two hours, the second folder is the middle 2 hours, and the last folder is the final two hours. Now, it doesn’t mean that I have to stay in those specific folders, however, what it does allow is it acts as a guideline of what I would like to do throughout the performance. Playing at the AIM festival was a unique experience as it was at the festival itself. When I play at a six-hour set at the club, I would jump right into the techno, and then dive into the psytrance. Although I may not end with it, I would make sure that it flows really well. I always try to get the crowd’s energy levels right. At a festival, it’s a completely different experience because what I am used to playing at a club goes out the window when I hit the fest’s stage, to a certain degree. People go to festivals to have fun; they want to jump, they want to rave, and they want to go crazy, every single time. I found that at the AIM festival, I skipped through my first folder, pretty quickly, and I went straight into my second folder, much earlier than I had anticipated. It worked out well! Although I prepare the folders, I don’t usually follow them to a T. However, I do plan the A State Of Trance shows because you have to follow a strict timeline, 60 minutes. In that time, you’re not only playing to a dance floor, you’re playing to the world. You need to make sure that everything is bang on because it gets streamed all around the world, and then it gets downloaded, and shared. It’s also important to make sure that it’s different from the last set, ultimately, making sure that it’s fresh!
What is your favorite destination to visit within Canada based solely off of the energy in the crowd?
I’ve played in Montreal more than most of the other Canadian cities which offers a lot of energy, however, we can’t forget about Toronto. I used to go to Toronto when The Guvernment was there. I’ve had some amazing memories playing there like extended sets, New Years Eve shows, and many more! I also loved playing at Veld Music Festival – it was really enjoyable. Ah, they we’re all such good times. The Guvernment was one of the best clubs in the world – 100% the best club in North America! It was vibin’ in there! If you wanted to test out new music, that wasn’t a problem; the club would go with it. I really loved it! I have also hosted a Gold Rush stage in Ottawa at Escapade Music Festival, and had played at Era Nightclub back when it existed. Era was a lot of fun, especially when I brought Emma Hewitt. I feel very blessed and lucky to be able to travel this much.
Since ‘There Will Be Angels’ has now officially dropped, have you ever experienced a moment where an angel has guided you? What is the story behind it?”
Not particularly, however, I do have a story about how the track was formed. Back in 2011, Audrey Gallagher sent me the acoustic track called ‘There Will Be Angels’. It was a 145 BPM played with a guitar and vocals. It wasn’t perfect, it was actually all over the place, however, there was something about it which made me completely fall in love with it. Since 2011, I had tried to create something with this track. I never forgot about it. Later on, I was sent this other vocal track. It was the same thing – I spent several months trying to perfect it, and I just couldn’t. It reminded me of ‘There Will Be Angels’. From that moment, I contacted Audrey, keep in mind this was now seven years later. It was fate! I told her that I wanted it to be the lead single of my album. It just meant so much to me. So we got right back into it. We had to record the guitars and the vocals again, with different keys (slightly slower 134). It ended up being the longest track to write on the album. I wrote for myself, which is the different from the other singles. I produced it in a way that I wanted it. I wasn’t worried about other people’s perceptions, or if it was going to win tune of the year, or of the week, I simply just did it for me. I knew that the vocals are amazing, and that the song’s structure is great, I just had to do it justice. If you listen to it, there’s no melody, nor any fancy production, it’s simple, and it works. I can’t believe that it’s already being added to so many playlists, like on Spotify, and has just achieved close to 1 million streams. Audrey and I are so pleased with the outcome. I actually called her when it was finished and we were both so emotional. That was her baby! In the past, other producers had tried to get it right, but couldn’t. Coming back to fate, I think that’s why it never worked out with anyone else before. You could say that she was my angel as she guided me back to this incredible track. We’re so proud of it, and hope you all love it!